AVON – The Plainville football team is one step closer toward reaching its ultimate goal.
Heading into Saturday afternoon’s matchup with Avon ranked ninth in Class S, the Blue Devils rode the arm and legs of junior quarterback Christian Collin to a 34-7 win and a case to further advance up the state ranks and potentially reach the eight-team state tournament.
“It was a huge win,” Collin said after throwing for 236 yards and running for another 176. “We’re trying to go 1-0 each week and reach our goal. This gives us more hope for playing into December.”
Collin and the Blue Devils wasted no time jumping out to an early lead, running in a pair of touchdowns in the first seven minutes of play to grab a 13-0 advantage. After an Avon fumble was recovered by Dominick Chambrello just before the ball rolled out of play on the second play from scrimmage, Plainville used a 21-yard run from Collin to set up Beau Lasher, who punched in a 1-yard touchdown run to give the Blue Devils a 7-0 lead with 7:46 left in the first quarter.
“Any time you can get on somebody quick on capitalize on a turnover like that, it’s good,” head coach Tim Shea said. “It sets the tone and shows we’re ready to go.”
After a three-and-out by the Falcons on the ensuing drive, Collin again broke off a big run, breaking three tackles before running the width of the field to find room for a 68-yard touchdown scamper to put Plainville ahead by 13 on a run that initially looked destined for short yardage at best.
“Just get into the end zone,” Collin said. “That’s all that was going through my mind.”
Just when it looked like the Blue Devils were poised for a blowout, a costly fumble shifted momentum. After a 28-yard run by Collin early in the second quarter, Lasher fumbled a carry at the 2-yard line that was recovered in the end zone by Avon, denying Plainville a chance to widen its lead. With less than a minute left in the half and the Blue Devils driving again, Collin broke free for yet another big run, hustling for 23 yards before he was stripped at the Avon 30-yard line, resulting in Plainville’s second turnover of the quarter.
“It looked like we stalled a little,” Shea said. “We can’t come down into the red zone and leave points. That’s kind of the thorn in our side right now.”
The Blue Devils’ offense stumbled in the second quarter in scoring situations, but it came back to life in the second half when Collin connected with Javan Paradis on a crossing route for a 41-yard touchdown pass midway through the period, extending Plainville’s lead to 20-0.
The lead swelled to 27-0 in the final minute of the third, when Tanner Callahan, shortly after catching a 23-yard pass, ran in a touchdown from 11 yards out to give the Blue Devils a cozy lead heading into the fourth.
Avon got on the board midway through the fourth following a blocked punt and a touchdown run from Sean Nolan, but Collin and the Blue Devils answered right back on the ensuing drive with a 76-yard touchdown strike on a slant route to Dylan Hall, sealing the game and putting Plainville in a strong position to reach the state tournament with just two games to go.
“We were practicing it all week,” Hall said of the game-sealing touchdown pass. “The line did a great job blocking and Christian gave me a great ball. I just executed it, and glad we got the win as a team.”
Plainville 34, Avon 7
Plainville (6-2) 13 0 14 7 – 34
Avon (1-7) 0 0 0 7 – 7
Plainville: Beau Lasher 1 run (Dylan Brewer kick) 7:46
Plainville: Christian Collin 68 run (conversion no good) 4:44
Plainville: Collin 41 pass to Javan Paradis (Brewer kick) 6:44
Plainville: Tanner Callahan 11 run (Brewer kick) 0:32
Avon: Sean Nolan 2 run (Dylan Bucci kick) 5:18
Plainville: Collin 76 pass to Dylan Hall (Brewer kick) 3:38
Rushing – Plainville: Collin 16-176-TD, Callahan 2-16-TD, Lasher 9-19-TD. Avon: Nolan 2-26-TD, Vincent McGraw 8-10.
Passing – Plainville: Collin 15-21-236-2TD. Avon: Tabor Engle 13-19-81.
Receiving – Plainville: Paradis 4-61-TD, Hall 5-107-TD, Callahan 2-30. Avon: Colby Nemarich 4-36, Nolan 1-16.